The Malta Independent 4 December 2021, Saturday

ŻiguŻajg International Arts Festival for Children and Young People officially opened

Saturday, 20 November 2021, 12:14 Last update: about 13 days ago

ŻiguŻajg International Arts Festival for Children & Young People’s hybrid edition organised by Fondazzjoni Kreattività was officially opened on Saturday and will run till Sunday 28 November with a fun selection of live and digital shows for the public's enjoyment.

The popular festival returns for its eleventh edition and its opening took place at the Spazju Kreattiv in the presence of ŻiguŻajg patron Dr Lydia Abela, the Minister of the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera, Fondazzjoni Kreattivita' Chairman Rupert Cefai and Festival Director Marta Vella.

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The official opening was followed by a performance of L-Aħħar Siġra, setting the mood for the entire festival of events which boasts a programme of shows suitable for children under the age of 1 until the ages of 13 and over.

The wife of the Prime Minister, Lydia Abela, said that the opening of this year's edition of ŻiguŻajg Festival is even more significant follwing the decision to go completely digital in 2020 due to the difficulties the pandemic brought with it.

''While the digital aspect of this festival has been vital in terms of making it accessible to even more audiences, ŻiguŻajg's return to theatres will now bring with it 10 days of celebration of exceptional talent'' said Dr Abela.

The Prime Minister's wife also mentioned how this festival has two main characteristics. The first is providing children and teenagers with a platform to express themselves in the most creative ways possible. The second, would be harnessing the potential of the arts as a communicative and accessible means for everyone.

''When you combine both these characteristics, one creates the most suitable environment for a better quality of life'' concluded Dr Abela

''The triumphant levels reached during last year’s edition has given us the impetus to aim even higher this time round, with this year’s artistic programme promising some exceptional material for our children to experience.'' stated Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera. He also sent his best wishes to all the participants of ŻiguŻajg who bask in the glory of the learning process this festival offers asking them to never stop dreaming and creating.

When looking back on last year's festival Fondazzjoni Kreattivita' Chairman Rupert Cefai reminded us that the arts should never be perceived as an arbitrary source of entertainment, but as a way of life: ''Such a difficult period has seen art become an outlet for many of those who struggled with lockdown and uncertainty. It has proven to us what an intrinsic part of our everyday lives it is.''

Festival Director Marta Vella concluded by thanking all those involved for the heart that was invested in the very making of this year's hybrid edition: ''From staffers of different organisations and venues, to artists who’ve trusted our vision form the get-go and battled with the ever-changing circumstances, this festival is nothing short of a labour of love from so many individuals''

The 11th edition of ŻiguŻajg Festival will see its shows return to the capital city of Valletta: Where are You Toby and L-Aħħar Siġra will take place at Spazju Kreattiv while dystopian children's play 2044 will be staged at Teatru Manoel.

Theatre Anon's captivating re-imagination of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic The Little Prince will run at the Valletta Campus Theatre along with Opening Doors's Automaniacs which will take place just a stone’s throw away at the Valletta Campus's Aula Prima. Film the Wolf Walkers will also be shown at Spazju Kreattiv's Cinema as will visual art exhibition: Past Continuous which will be open to the public throughout the ŻiguŻajg Festival at Spazju Kreattiv.

Each one of these shows will be performed at least once in a sensory friendly format as part of our premiere Sensory Friendly Performance programme, which is now open to the general public. These tailor-made performances are designed to create a welcoming and comfortable arts experience for people with specific sensory needs whereby public performances will be modified to appeal to those who have specific sensory requirements or preferences.

If the festival would rather be enjoyed from home, audiences are in luck as there is a varied offering of digital events to be enjoyed from the comfort of home, featuring dance theatre productions like Moveo Dance Company's Phora 10 XS and Zugraga Dance Company's Scarab, The Dung Beetle. The New Theatre Company's Rapunzella and Sandie von Brockdorff and Nicola Azzopardi's Polly & Esther can also be enjoyed online, as can Toontuloon's Għidli Ħolma, an exciting retelling of the history of Saint James Cavalier through the eyes of a little boy and his father. Toi Toi's children's opera The Magic Baton will also be available online and on demand as will the rest of the festival's online programme.

ŻiguŻajg International Arts Festival for Children & Young People will take place between the 19th and 28th of November. For tickets and more information on the festival please visit www.ziguzajg.org

 

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